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World Premieres heading to Fantasia Fest 23'



You can smell it in the air. Festival season. While the granddaddy of the festival circuit TFW is in the books, some more film-oriented festivals are on the way! One, in particular, is above the border and one of our favorite festivals to cover FANTASIA FEST. We have been given some initial details on a few thrillers coming to this year's horror showcase and have all the details below. EMPIRE V, LOVELY DARK & DEEP and STAY ONLINE are all set to make their world premieres at this year's fest! Check out all the engaging information ahead and look for more FANTASIA coverage soon!


EMPIRE V, LOVELY, DARK, AND DEEP, and STAY ONLINE. All are set to hold their world premieres at FANTASIA FEST.


-EMPIRE V is a feature horror film banned from being shown in its home country of Russia due to its biting social satire. The film follows a 19-year-old Moscow nobody who receives an invitation to join an elite and powerful echelon of society, only to discover the bloody secrets of a vampiric dictatorship who have controlled humanity since time immemorial.

-LOVELY, DARK, AND DEEP stars Georgina Campbell (BARBARIAN) as an isolated park ranger searching a dense forest for clues about her own dark past. The unnerving fever-dream of a debut from Teresa Sutherland (MIDNIGHT MASS) is a folkloric nightmare filled with lush, unforgettable imagery.


-STAY ONLINE is a feature thriller/drama ripped straight from the headlines. Set in war-torn Ukraine, the film is a suspenseful race against time as a volunteer uncovers a missing man’s laptop and frantically searches to find him. Filled with emotional twists and turns, STAY ONLINE is a tense and topical thriller.

More information on the films can be found below. Would love to get your thoughts, and see which titles you might be able to consider coverage for? Additionally, we will be conducting interviews with the respective filmmakers and talent via Zoom throughout July. Please let me know if you might be interested in arranging an interview. Thank you for your consideration, eager to hear your feedback on the films!


EMPIRE V (**World Premiere**)

Director: Victor Ginzburg

Writers: Victor Ginzburg, Viktor Pelevin

Starring: Pavel Tabakov, Miron Fedorov (AKA Oxxxymiron), Taya Radchenko, and Vera Alentova

A disaffected student (Pavel Tabakov) follows an invitation to join “the elite” and finds himself forcibly transformed into a vampire, joining a supernatural ruling class who exercise an anonymous dictatorship over humans. Celebrated Russian-American director Victor Ginzburg (GENERATION P) demonstrates a striking visual imagination, perfectly complementing a story that reinvents nearly every aspect of vampire lore in clever and fantastical ways. This is the MATRIX of vampire cinema. Years in the making, EMPIRE V is both next-level blockbuster storytelling and megabudget anti-Oligarch satire, electrified with breathtaking visuals from the great Aleksei Rodionov (COME AND SEE). Co-starring Miron Fedorov, AKA rap star Oxxxymiron, whose anti-War benefit concerts led the Russian justice ministry to condemn him as a “foreign agent.” EMPIRE V itself has been banned by Russia’s Ministry of Culture, ensuring that the citizens of its home country may never see the film.


LOVELY, DARK, AND DEEP (**World Premiere**)

Director/Writer: Teresa Sutherland

Starring: Georgina Campbell, Nick Blood, Wai Ching Ho and Edgar Morais

LOVELY, DARK AND DEEP is the hotly anticipated directorial debut of Teresa Sutherland, screenwriter of THE WIND and a writer on MIDNIGHT MASS. Laced with stunning visuals, this ominously beautiful, deeply frightening nightmare is anchored by a captivating lead performance from BARBARIAN’s Georgina Campbell. Campbell plays a park ranger in an isolated forest outpost, the site of multiple mysterious disappearances, and she is plagued by visions blending the past and present with something even more sinister. This transfixing film oozes an immersive, fever-dream atmosphere. Also starring Nick Blood, Wai Ching Ho, and Edgar Morais.


STAY ONLINE (**World Premiere**)

Director: Eva Strelnikova

Writers: Anton Skrypets, Eva Strelnikova

Cast: Elizaveta Zaitseva, Oleksandr Rudynskyy, Hordii Dzuibynskyi, Roman Liakh, Oleksandr Yarema, Olesya Zhurakivska, Yevhen Kovyrzanov, Iryna Tamim, Ekaterina Kisten




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